Budget is vital step in delivering a green economy - say region's RDAs

23/04/2009

England’s Regional Development Agencies have welcomed today’s Budget commitment to supporting businesses and individuals through the recession, particularly the use of the Green Agenda to grow the UK economy for the future, calling it a “critical step forward in the long term sustainability of our economy.”

Speaking on behalf of England’s Regional Development Agencies, Yorkshire Forward Chair, Terry Hodgkinson comments;

“In these challenging economic times, we are pleased to see that Government have recognised both the immediate needs of business and individuals, and the longer term opportunities for growth that we must maximise in anticipation of economic recovery.

He adds; “Government has recognised that businesses are facing the toughest conditions for 60 years, so it is vital that they are given the right support that will help them trade through the recession and into recovery.

“For example, Regional businesses are telling us that issues such as the reduced availability of trade credit insurance and export insurance, which protects their trade activities, are causing them real difficulties, and this is something we have fed into Government as part of our annual input into the Budget.

“We are pleased to see a commitment to supporting trade credit insurance and look forward to further announcements around export insurance.”

As the delivery bodies charged with supporting economic growth in the English regions, the RDAs also welcomed the Chancellor's commitment to investing in the long term economic growth of the country, including over £1.4 billion of extra targeted support for the low-carbon sector, with £405 million to support low-carbon industries and advanced green manufacturing.

Hodgkinson adds; “The green agenda is one of global significance and the English Regions have the capacity and expertise to be leaders in the development of green technologies. 

“There are already a range of projects being led by the RDAs to support the growth of this emerging sector in their regions, and we welcome this investment by Government and will look to work with them to maximise new opportunities that could have a major impact both globally and nationally.

“The commitment to a carbon budget will also have the added benefit of giving industry the confidence and incentive to invest in these areas.”

As Non-Departmental Government Bodies, the RDAs are also committed to delivering value for money in their investments, and have delivered efficiency savings on their budgets. 

Speaking on behalf of the RDA network as Chair of Chairs, Deborah Cadman, chief executive of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), said:

“I welcome this budget. Today’s announcements compliment the launch this week of a new activism, based around innovation, creativity and the low-carbon and digital communications sectors. RDAs have been driving forward this agenda and aligning economic growth with social and environmental realities, such as climate change, for some time. As regional and business-led bodies, RDAs are uniquely-placed to work with partners across local boundaries to plan and invest for the longer term and to prepare the country for the inevitable upturn.

“In line with today’s Budget, regional development agencies continue to actively prioritise investments that maximise the impact on our regional economies. The effectiveness of RDAs was recently demonstrated by the results of an independent PWC evaluation study. This showed that for every £1 spent by RDAs an average of £4.50 of economic output has already been generated for our regional economies with more to come as long term investments could push that figure up to £6.40.
Additionally, RDAs have worked with Government and exceeded their efficiency targets and are continually looking at ways to deliver even greater value for money.”

Notes to Editors

• A full copy of today’s budget can be found at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk

• Press enquiries please contact: Victoria Pourzand on 0113 3949904 or email victoria.pourzand@yorkshire-forward.com

• The RDAs are business led organisations set up by Government in 1998 to promote sustainable economic development in England.   They work with key public and private sector regional partners to increase the economic performance of the regions and reduce social and economic disparities within and between regions.

• Ten years on, independent evaluation shows the RDAs have:
Had a significant impact on the English economy
Generated economic benefits that substantially outweigh their overall costs
Put back an average of £4.50 of economic output (or GVA) into the regional economies for every £1 spent
Produced over £23 billion in economic benefits per year during the past five years alone
A wider impact on people, places and businesses across the country that cannot be captured by figures alone.

• The RDAs take it in turns to manage the collective work of the RDA network for a six month period.  EEDA took on this role from 1st April 2008 through to 30th September 2009, and during this time, their Chairman and Chief Executive are responsible in representing the network on matters of national importance.  Each RDA also leads on a number of specific policy areas (e.g. emda on BERR) and takes the lead on coordinating related activity across the network.    

• For more information on England’s Regional Development Agencies please go to www.englandsrdas.com